Cannabis wine

There have always been people who make lots of money dealing in drugs, but only recently has it been possible to do it legally by investing in companies that manufacture consumer products from marijuana.

Ever since the cannabis plant was discovered to generate strange effects, it has been used for a variety of practices other than rolling joints. Infused with tea is a long-time favourite and is what many people would consider 'harmless', but the spotlight has been turned on potentially more profitable (for business) options, such as the latest craze to hit - cannabis wine.

There is currently a lot of noise around its promotion and consumption, but the drink is really nothing more than cannabis-infused grape juice. The reason for this is to sidestep the so-far undefined effect on the human body of a mix of stimulants and relaxants. In the States, particularly on the West Coast, bars serving marijuana cocktails are ten a penny, but the iron rule is drugs or alcohol - never a mix of both.

It will be difficult to see how the whole thing turns out as long as each US state is allowed to make its own laws, an issue that encourages illegal activity and mafia involvement. But it is precisely these federal-created statutes that have allowed New York, for example, to permit the setting up of a huge 80-million-dollar project for making marijuana-derived products. Although the New York initiative will create hundreds of jobs, the state of Michigan takes a different view and has banned drinks that contain marijuana.

In states where cannabis consumption has become routine, studies indicate that people are drinking less wine. While this may concern winemakers, what has to be avoided is the flight of the USA's greatest wine-consumers - middle-aged women - to hash for their enjoyment. Some predictions indicate that reaching for a joint while watching TV might be less trouble than getting up to open a bottle of wine.